New Queensland Health research shows many people are at risk of food poisoning this Christmas, because they lack even the most basic knowledge when it comes to food safety.

Health Protection Executive Director Sophie Dwyer says the research revealed 75 per cent of people thought they understood safe food practices – but Queensland Health statistics on food poisoning painted a very different picture.

“People are really overestimating their knowledge of basic food hygiene – and suffering as a result,” she says.

“They’re telling us that it’s common sense – but when questioned, only one per cent of the 1563 people surveyed knew that eggs should never be washed before cooking.”

“That’s because washing them makes it easier for any bacteria to get inside the egg from the shell.”

Sophie says only 21 per cent realised washing uncooked chicken was a health risk, with one in five reporting they always washed chicken before cooking it.

“That’s alarming because washing raw chicken can spread Campylobacter via splashing water,” she says.

“Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in Australia, with more than 3200 people getting so ill last year that they ended up receiving hospital treatment.”

“Another fact people should be aware of this festive season is that when it comes to those leftovers lurking in the fridge, it’s not recommended they be consumed after two days.”

Ms Dwyer says Queensland Health worked closely with councils to ensure food preparation standards in Queensland businesses were up to scratch.

“Standards in Queensland business are generally very high. It’s when there’s a food hygiene issue that a lot of people are affected,” she says.

“But a big risk remains in people’s homes this Christmas – and that’s because many people are way more clueless than they think.

“Let’s be frank – nobody wants to spend the silly season on the loo because they didn’t use their common sense.”

For more information about food safety visit www.healthier.qld.gov.au/guides/food-safety or you can view their food safety videos here